Overcoming Our Mistakes, Part Two

Mistakes vary in severity and consequence. One kind of mistake is ordering the #4 when the #5 was what you really wanted. It’s another kind of mistake to have an illicit affair resulting in catastrophic consequences. It’s the latter kind I’m writing about today.

Some mistakes we pay for over a lifetime, paying over and over again. Maybe it’s our inability to let go, to get past our remorse and self-condemnation. Some mistakes can sour our reputation like a carton of milk gone bad. They leave us defeated and subdued. 

Some people will punish us for our sins because they won’t forgive. They won’t stop flogging us for our errors; such is their passion for flogging. Typically, that happens because our mistakes hurt them or someone they love. Obsessively punishing becomes their purpose, turns into their white whale. It becomes their mistake.

That emotional pain, separation, and stained reputation can seem insurmountable. But, as hard as it may be, we don’t have to be overcome by our mistakes. 

basement_series_sadness-500x332

Suggestions For Overcoming

Clear Your Conscience. This is about humility and confession. It’s about seeking forgiveness. God forgives, but with people pardon isn’t always guaranteed. However, the first step in overcoming is in getting right with God, others and ourselves.                                                                                               

Develop a Support System.  You might want to recruit a few respected people to be your “account-a-bill-a-buddies.” Share your struggles and ask for their counsel. Have them ask you how you are doing on a weekly basis. It can be done in person, online, or by phone. Not shoulders for comfort, but people with good minds and hearts to help you. 

Learn From What Happened. Will you learn from your mistakes? Often our mistakes are influenced by the cumulative result of difficult issues; not just stupid and random carelessness. So, what needs fixing? Your relationships at home? With God? With others? Sometimes we clean up our lives by cleaning out our hearts and minds. 

Bear Your Shame. This can be really hard but there’s no getting around it. After a big mistake we feel embarrassed and ashamed. We wear them like signs around our necks. We avoid going to church, or to public venues with people we know who will be there. However, you have to come out of the cave. You may feel their judgement, disapproval and their avoidance. But if you are right with God, and have made a healthy effort to make things right with others, then lift up your head and go out ad live your life. Don’t become a victim by the ill-treatment of others. Remember Jesus, Hebrews 12:2-3

“Fix your eyes on Jesus. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame…Consider him who endured so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

Decide to Move On. Here is something to grasp: “Life goes on, so you might as well go with it. Life doesn’t slow down to let you catch up.” I’m reminded of Paul in Philippians 3:12,14

“I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me…One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward.” 

ManWalkingThroughDarkTunnel

In Closing

Moving past our mistakes can be a gut wrenching experience and in no way do I suggest that it’s easily done or done without pain and heartache. 

But it can be done. We can overcome our mistakes.

 

Overcoming Insecurity: Ignore or Invest? Part Two

Introduction

In Part One of, “Overcoming Insecurity,” insecurity was defined as, “feeling unsafe or in danger.” Overcome was defined as, “to be subdued, defeated, or conquered.”

Being overcome with insecurity is being subdued/defeated by feelings of fear or danger. 

The Question

I closed part one with this question,

“If feeling insecure is a learned behavior then can it be unlearned?”

Ignoring the insecurity, or masking it, or living in denial are ineffective strategies.

Insecurity can be defeated, or at least minimized, by learning from new experiences and  processing new insights. Also, it may be that you need to consult a Doctor or pursue professional levels of help. 

As for this blog, I offer these thoughts.

Suggestions

  1. Write It Down

I have found journaling helpful. Write about your insecurity. What is it you fear? What is it you are looking over your shoulder to see? Be honest and specific. By identifying what overwhelms you, you’ve taken a healthy step in coping with it. So, write it down.

2.  Think It Through

Think through the fear and sense of doom, all the way to the end. What happens if it happens? Could it happen? Is it likely? Often, what scares us most are the things that are most unlikely to happen.

An example: During Hurricane Harvey’s five days of rain my insecurity surged with a foreboding of our house flooding. But our house didn’t flood, not even close. Throughout the storm there was no reason to believe that it would. But I was still afraid, and the fear came from insecurity. But it helped when I finally owned up to the idea that if it did flood then we would deal with it. We would be okay. It would be a huge mess and a giant hassle, but we would be all right. Instead of being overwhelmed with dread and fear I arrived at a calmer place. So, think it through.

3. Provide Faith Messages

Our self talk when insecurity hits us becomes really important. Write about that too. What messages do you give yourself? Are they negative? Full of dread and fear? Are they messages that reflect the worst possible outcome? Or are they positive and strong, full of faithful optimism? Are they messages of trust in God? Giving ourselves a steady stream of healthy messages will help diminish the fear and doom. So, give yourself some good reinforcement. 

The Word

Fine strength and comfort from these verses:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition… present your requests to God ….the peace of God will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he will lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him for he cares for you.”                                                                I Peter 5:6-7

In Closing

The Apostle Paul said,

“Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.”                                            Romans 12:21 (NLT)  

Unsubstantiated, irrational fear comes from an evil place, for God doesn’t give us a spirit of fear. Yes, when danger is real, when we are threatened, then we act accordingly. But fear generated from insecurity doesn’t have to own us.

happy woman

We can overcome!

God Bless You

Conquer, Subdue & Defeat

The Overcomer

Part One

Introduction

The word, “overcome” is typically used in one of two ways:

  1. Overcome: something that defeated us
  2. Overcome: something we defeated

Something that overcomes is a force that subdues and conquers us. To be an overcomer is to subdue and conquer that force. Either we overcome something or it overcomes us. 

Some Examples

  1. Nicotine
  2. Depression
  3. Over eating
  4. Pornography
  5. Anger

Those are only a few of the many forces that battle with us and that we battle against. If we win then we have overcome. But if we lose …? 

Overcoming can look different for everyone. I know two men who were heavy smokers and decided to kick the habit. One of them threw his cigarets into the trash and never smoked again. The other threw his pack into the trash but later dug them out. He struggled for years. He quit over and over. Was he an overcomer? 

A Few Verses

The apostle John frequently used the word overcome, some examples:

I John 2;13, “…and the word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one.”

I John 4:4, “You… have overcome, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”

John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” 

To Close

For the next few weeks my blog will address the topic of overcoming. I intend to post Monday and Wednesday mornings. Each blog will be purposed to help you overcome the forces fighting against you. I will use scripture, practical suggestions and encouragement. 

Stay tuned…

It’s Time To Go

This morning we will fly home from our anniversary get away. That’s what couples often do for their anniversaries, they get away. It’s what we did for our 40th anniversary, we left town.

It’s not that we don’t like our house because we like our house just fine. It’s not that we don’t like Houston because Houston is a lovely place with millions of nice people and even more millions of nice cars and boasts a summer climate the likes of which can’t be enjoyed elsewhere!

No, you see, getting away isn’t about leaving where you are it’s about arriving at where you’re not. It’s about someplace else, someplace different. Elsewhere may be a romantic hide away or somewhere interesting and exciting, or fun. The leaving is about escaping routines and the tyrannies of regular life.

From within such liberty are moments of continuous conversation or moments of rare repose, pristine and peaceful. Strained eyes are refreshed to see new sights. A diminished sense of adventure is awakened to once again explore the unknown. We come alive again and we remember.

It’s good to get away and I am most grateful to have had four days with the girl I married.

But, just like Dorothy said,

“There’s no place like home.”

She was right. But every now and then a romp down the yellow brick road is a good thing.

It’s time to go.

Morning Coffee

It’s 6:50 in the morning. It’s 59 degrees and the sun is about to be up. It’s a beautiful dawn. Danielle is still asleep but I’m sitting on the balcony of our hotel room drinking a cup of delicious coffee, it’s going to be a glorious day.

We are celebrating our 40th anniversary and having a splendid time of it too. Forty years is a long time. Our kids aren’t even that old. (a joke)

We got married on July 7, 1978, in LaJunta, Colorado. Yep, married me a Colorado girl. It’s my favorite state.

I didn’t drink coffee then. Wasn’t old enough. Adults drink coffee and I was still growing up. I drink coffee now, obviously, but I’m not sure it qualifies me as an adult.

Our children are 34 and 29 and we like them. They turned out pretty well I think. They both drink coffee.

I bought a beautiful necklace for her anniversary gift. It’s spectacular and I think she really loves it. Even after forty years I’m still a bit nervous about such things. But so far so good.

Last night at dinner we talked about our 50th wedding anniversary and how we want to celebrate it. A cruise was mentioned. Maybe a European River Cruise. Maybe a Carnival Cruise to Cozumel. I’m guessing it’ll be the former.

Well, I hear her stirring inside the room, getting ready for the day. Exciting plans have been made and adventure awaits. Who knows what may happen today? I’m open for something truly memorable.

I better go, don’t want to keep the lady waiting. But I think I have time to see the sun get up and to finish my last bit of coffee.

Until next time.

Well Equipped Kids, Backpacks, Pt. 2

kids with packs 2
An unthinkable thought: to send a child to school without a well equipped backpack!

Yesterday I blogged about the ubiquitous back pack, primarily worn on the backs of school children everywhere. Inside is everything a child needs to succeed at school.

Here is the supply list for preschoolers and kindergarteners:

  • backpack
  • lunchbag
  • Number 2 pencils
  • Handheld pencil sharpener
  • Eraser
  • 5 inch blunt scissors
  • Glue stick
  • 4 ounce glue
  • Tape
  • Crayons
  • Crayon sharpener
  • Colored pencils
  • Watercolor paint
  • Folders
  • Tissue
  • Antibacterial hand sanitizer
  • Wide ruled notebook/pad

Uh HuH, Wow!

kid fallen from back pack
Bless his heart, he’s fallen and he can’t get up!

 

Here is the list for a middle schooler:

  • Pencil pouch
  • Blue or black ballpoint pens
  • No. 2 pencils
  • Pencil sharpener
  • Highlighters
  • Permanent markers
  • Erasers
  • Three-ring binder
  • Three-hole-punch
  • Loose-leaf paper or spiral notebooks
  • Graph paper
  • Subject dividers
  • Index cards
  • Plastic folders
  • Glue
  • Post-its
  • White-Out
  • Protractor
  • Ruler
  • scissors
  • Graphing calculator
  • Combination lock
  • Personal organizer/calendar
  • Book socks
  • Backpack
  • Lunchbox or bag

Are You Kidding Me?

The amount of things it takes to succeed in school has grown since I was a boy.

 

Here’s a Thought

No decent parent would send their child to school without everything needed to succeed. It would be unthinkable, unimaginable and it wouldn’t happen.

 

Here’s Another Thought

 The backpack has everything a kid needs to succeed academically.

But what about spiritually?

If your child had a spiritual backpack, a God-Pack, what would be inside? What does a child need to succeed in school spiritually? The fruit of the Spirit?

  • love
  • joy
  • peace
  • patience
  • kindness
  • goodness
  • faithfulness
  • gentleness
  • self-control

Would their spiritual backpacks have courage, wisdom, strength, and confidence from God? Perhaps a healthy dose of self-respect and respect for others? How about honesty, integrity and good character?

I know. It’s easy to go to a store and buy everything a child needs for school, along with a backpack to carry it.

It’s harder to fill their hearts with the shield of faith to protect them from the sharply pointed attacks sure to come their way. It’s easier not to, but far more risky.

In Closing

No good parent would send their child to school without everything they need to succeed academically. Does a good parent send their child to school without everything they need to succeed spiritually?

Just a thought

shalom

 

“The Ubiquitous Backpack”

When did backpacks become necessary?

I’m not a backpack guy but clearly they are essential to thousands of hikers and to millions of children.

They seem an indispensable element within the culture of children’s academia. A kid without a backpack is like a milk shake without a straw.

Backpacks come in all shapes and sizes. Some have solid colors and some have stripes, patterns, and prints. There are packs with superheroes, sports stars and movie themes. Some are designed for girls or boys.

kids with packs 2

 

My Favorite?

I don’t use them so I don’t have a favorite, but the ones that make me smile are those on the backs of younger kids, the packs that are as big as the child and so heavy that a soft breeze could blow them over. 

kids with big packs 2

 

Modernization?

I’m not sure how sophisticated a backpack can get. It’s basically a bag with shoulder straps, but somehow the smart people at the pack places manage to find a way.

schoolbag for black kid

 

The Old Days

In the old days when kids walked to school, took the buss, or rode their bikes, they did so without a backpack. We didn’t have book bags, lockers, or even a plastic grocery sack. We didn’t carry anything. Perhaps it explains why none of us grew up to be the hope of our generation.

My Church

We do an annual back pack drive to help families in need. We buy the packs, fill them with supplies, and then bring them to, “Back Pack Sunday.” By the end of 2nd service the stage is covered in packs. We have a blessing for them and for the kids. Its pretty cool. 

In Closing

Across America children have started school, or are about to. According to the National Center For Public Education there will be 50 million kids in public schools and 6 million in private schools. 

kids with packs 1

So God bless you kids. Have a great year. Study hard, learn much, and prepare well. We are counting on you. And with a brand new back pack filled with every needed item you are all set. Wear them proudly. And just in case you don’t like your pack, don’t worry, you’ll get a new one next year.

Shalom

Three’s a Crowd?

I was thinking about the number 3.

Biblically…

Gideon’s army was whittled down to 300.

Moses had those who worshipped the golden calf killed, 3,000 died.

golden calf
Not the calf the Hebrew people worshipped, but close, really very close.

King Saul took 3,000 men to hunt for David. 

Job had 3,000 camels.

King Solomon wrote 3,000 proverbs.

Samson pulled the pillars down and killed 3000 Philistines. 

Peter and the apostles baptized 3000 on the day of Pentecost.

Jesus had 3 disciples who were especially close: Peter, James and John.

Elijah prayed 3 times for rain.

Jesus prayed 3 times for the cup to pass.

There were 3 on the Mount of Transfiguration: Jesus, Moses and Elijah.

In the parable of the good Samaritan, 3 passed by, one stopped to help.

Jesus was 30 when he launched his ministry.

He was 33 when he died.

Jesus showed the 3 holes to his apostles, his hands and his side.

Peter denied Jesus 3 times. 

There were 3 crosses on Golgotha that day.

Jesus was in the tomb 3 days.

God is 1 but 3: Father, Son, and Spirit. 

Personally…

My parents had 3 sons.

My first date had her mother tag along. 

It took me 3 tries to pass my driver’s test. 

I’ve backed out of the garaged 3 times with the car door open.

I’ve been in 3 automobile accidents, two were bumper bumps, one wasn’t. 

I’ve been to Israel 3 times. 

I’ve done mission trip to 3 countries: Mexico, China, and Haiti.

I’ve climbed Mount Everest 3 times.

 I asked a girl for a date 3 times, she said no 3 times, then she married me.

All of the above 3’s are true except for 3 of them. 

In Conclusion

After careful consideration I’ve determined that I don’t have anything significant to say about the number 3. 

But thanks for reading this blog to the end.